Insights

Horizon Europe: Tips for Lump Sum Applications

Our Horizon Europe experts have shared their 3 top tips to navigate the lump sum funding structure often found in Horizon Europe calls.

Many new calls in the Horizon Europe 2024 Work Programme will use the lump sum funding structure. This was introduced to 1) reduce the administrative burden for all partners during the project’s run time, 2) minimize errors in financials, and 3) ensure a focus on content and technical progress during reporting, instead of excessive amounts of time and effort being spent on financial administration. However, lump sum funding can pose a challenge during the process of writing the application, especially for applicants who are new to it.

It is important to know upfront that there is no change in terms of what are considered eligible costs for Horizon projects, in the specifications of the different cost categories (personnel, materials etc.) or the payment structure (upfront, interim, and final payment).

Our advice for your Horizon Europe lump sum funding application

Based on our experience with writing lump sum funding applications, we have three key tips for you to tackle this new process in an efficient manner:

1. Carefully consider the work package structure and timelines

Within lump sum grants, the applicants will receive interim payments if a work package is completed in its entirety at the end of the respective reporting period. That means you have to carefully consider what a work package constitutes and how long it runs. If possible, you want to avoid large and expensive work packages running throughout the whole project because the payment of (parts of) those project costs will only be at the end of the project upon completion of the activities. For example, when running a large and costly clinical trial, it will be smart to divide the tasks into different smaller work packages to reduce the need for upfront investments by the partners.

However, there is a balance to be struck as a high number of very small work packages will make the work plan look less cohesive and may reduce your evaluation score. Thus, our tip is not to overdo it. For example for project management of a small project, it may be better to stick to a single work package.

2. Start early with the budget development

As ‘lump sum’ project applications require a more detailed specification of the project costs compared to ‘actual costs’ project applications, it is key to start working on the budget early in the process. After defining the work package structure and agreeing on the exact role and contribution of each partner to the work plan, it is important to start immediately with development of the budget. We advise starting with the budget at the latest 1.5 months before the deadline.

Each partner will be required to complete a detailed budget excel file, which needs to detail all project costs per work package based on unit costs. This file needs to be submitted as an additional annex to the proposal. The table requires a high level of detail, and there are usually several iterations needed to align the budget between partners, affiliated partners when relevant, and across the work packages. Starting early is thus key to developing a solid budget that allows you to deliver the project goals.

3. Justify all costs in detail: Grants and reporting

For lump sum applications, the evaluators are instructed to comment on whether the project budget is realistic and justified. The evaluators will carefully look at all the costs to estimate whether they are essential to the project, and whether it is feasible to deliver the project’s results within the stated budget. After signing the grant agreement, the budget is fixed and no further justification or documentation is needed.

To assist the evaluators and increase the chances of your proposal’s success, it is important to provide sufficient details on all cost items so that the evaluators have all the information they need to understand if the required budget is realistic. We advise you to include as much specification per cost item as you can. For example, for travel costs we advise you to include the number of people traveling, the destination, and the frequency of travel.

 


 

Download our Horizon Europe Guide

There’s a lot to take into consideration when applying for Horizon Europe funding: budget, consortium partners, application processes, activities, and specific conditions. Our Horizon Europe Guide gives you insights on how to write an appealing proposal, gives all the success criteria and maximizes your chances of getting funded.

Download our free guide

 


 

Horizon Europe success story: TETTRIs

“TETTRIs is a turning point for the taxonomy community gathered around CETAF, the unique association in Europe focused on taxonomy and systematics.” – Ana Casino, Executive Director of CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities), and Project Technical Coordinator of TETTRIs

CETAF TETTRIS

TETTRIs: A crucial building block for taxonomy

TETTRIs was awarded ~€6 million from Horizon Europe’s Cluster 6 call and is a crucial building block for the future of taxonomy, offering a roadmap for its transformation and ensuring sustainability for the future.

“Catalyze’s support was instrumental”

“Catalyze’s support helped us to identify how all our ideas for the project fitted together, and could be merged towards a meaningful proposal. I think the whole TETTRIs consortium is aware that Catalyze’s support was instrumental to produce a successful proposal. So I think everyone was delighted with the effectiveness of the collaboration.” – Ana Casino, Executive Director of CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities), and Project Technical Coordinator of TETTRIs

Read the full interview: TETTRIs – a new vision for European taxonomy

 


Horizon Europe: Further reading

 

This article was written by Susan Barendrecht, PhD, Helen Pothuizen, PhD, and Katy Greenland.

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